Washington State’s Water Future: Drought Maps and the Need for Planning

NWS Long-Term Outlook: The National Weather Service predicts above-average temperatures and below-average precipitation

Washington is facing a potential water crisis this summer. The Department of Ecology has declared a drought emergency for most of the state, with only limited exceptions for Seattle, Tacoma, and Everett.

Washington Drought Declaration

This declaration is based on low snowpack, forecasts for a warm and dry summer, and the concerning fact that this is a continuation of the 2023 drought that impacted several critical watersheds.

Seasonal Temperature Outlook and Seasonal Precipitation Outlook

Professor Cliff Mass has expressed optimism about the current water situation, however, his view runs counter to official assessments and predictions. While he commented on a Facebook post that a drier than normal spring over the PacWest was alarming he went on to also say in another post:

“There will be plenty of water for drinking and a modest reduction for some junior water rights folks in eastern Washington. Most of the key crops (such as apples, cherries, and wheat) appear to be doing well.  So there is no reason to panic at this point. There is no drought emergency going on.

And don’t forget temperature….the other side of significant droughts.  Warm weather causes drying of the soil.   Thus, the forecast temperatures for the next month or so are critical.  The best extended forecast for the next month (European Center see below) is for COOLER THAN NORMAL conditions, which would reduce evaporative water loss, lessening the potential for damaging drought conditions.”

A drier than normal spring over the Pacific Northwest

We understand that people are seeking alternatives to sources that may be overly focused on personal opinions. Many of us miss the data-driven approach and detailed analysis that used to be found on the Seattle Weather Blog instead of the biased takes on being scared to mention things such as global warming. That’s why we’re committed to providing clear, unbiased forecasts based on official sources like the National Weather Service and the Department of Ecology. We’re also actively building a team of Northwest-based weather forecasters to offer the in-depth coverage our region deserves. Whether you’re a farmer watching water levels, a homeowner planning for summer, or just want to know if you’ll need your umbrella – we’ve got you covered.

While some individuals have expressed optimism about the current situation, official sources paint a starkly different picture. The Department of Ecology and the NOAA warn that many regions have significantly lower snowpack and below-normal streamflows.

Forecasts indicate warmer and drier than normal conditions throughout Washington for the crucial April to August period.

Farmers need to be particularly aware of this situation. Those relying on junior water rights or water sources in vulnerable watersheds could face restrictions. It’s essential to stay informed and proactive regardless of diverse opinions on the drought’s potential severity.

By taking steps to reduce our water consumption, we can help alleviate the strain on our state’s water supply and mitigate the effects of a potential drought.

#WAwater #WAdrought

Discover more from iWeatherNet

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading